So it is with birth. This was on my mind today because yesterday, October 27th, around 7 P.M., Zachary Caruba, the new son of my nephew and his wife, came into this world. He has by early report ten fingers and ten toes. One presumes he has a healthy pair of lungs with which to demand food and other care.
This harks back to the earliest beginning of humankind when a baby’s cry could be heard from one end of the savanna to another. More recently, a baby in Turkey, trapped by an earthquake there, was heard among the rubble, was rescued and emerged to safety precisely because of this inherent human trait.
This morning I called my older brother, Zachary’s grandfather, to wish him happy birthday on the beginning of his 81st year. Young Zachary can now compete with him for the biggest slice of the cake. Zachary has, as well, an older sister of eight years and an aunt and cousins.
The birth reminds us that, even in bad times; in the midst of war and economic collapse, life goes on. Man, a hairless biped, unable to outrun most animals, but with a talent for tool-making, dominates the planet. He is a greedy creature, often never satisfied or happy even with great wealth or power. Much of his or her thoughts and pursuits will be devoted to copulation. A great number of men and women are beset with mental illness of one sort or another, foolish addictions, and all of the seven deadly sins.
We are a species that kills our own kind for almost any reason, often coming together for the purpose of killing others who either threaten us or who possess what we covet; land, sources of wealth, trinkets.
I had a university professor once tell me that the most dangerous creature on Earth is a teenager and history bears him out. As this is written, mostly teenagers and those in their early twenties are making a great nuisance of themselves, "occupying" some place to demand that others who work for a living “share” their wealth with them.
They demand "fairness" where fairness has never existed either now or in ancient times.
Allegedly they want jobs, but there are fewer jobs available because earlier generations have ransacked the national treasury in a futile effort to ensure that everyone can buy a home even if they cannot afford one or with programs the government tells us will protect us in illness and old age. There is no more money left and borrowing only increases the debt.
If Zachary Caruba is lucky he will learn at an early age that most of what the government and the mass media tell him is a pack of lies. He will learn that life is not fair and never was. If one is lucky to be born into wealth then he can inherit it. If not, he can acquire it by dint of work, investment or both, but there are legions of charlatans ready to fleece him. Some are called politicians. Others are merely thieves of every description.
By sheer happenstance, I came across a tape recording, a cassette made in 1982. It was my parents talking about our family history. Born here in 1901 and 1903, they spoke of how their parents fled Russia or immigrated from Italy to a still-young America in the late 1890s that offered the promise of freedom and opportunity.
The “old world”, locked into calcified class divisions, in nations ruled by monarchies or nascent democratic movements, could offer neither. Russia would forsake its czar for a Communist “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Italy would descend into fascism. I knew both sets of grandparents and not once did either speak of the homeland they left behind.
That is the difference between the “old world” and the new one that generations of Americans put together and fought to defend; a republic bequeathed to Zachary Caruba, if he can keep it.
© Alan Caruba, 2011